Outstanding Student Awards

Each year, the Department of Biology offers a series of undergraduate and graduate student awards.  These include:

  1. Outstanding Student Awards: These awards honor undergraduate, masters, and ILS Ph.D. students who have shown considerable promise and exceptional performance in the areas of 1) evolution and ecological processes and applications or 2) molecular, cellular, and developmental biology.
  2. Outstanding Senior Award: This award is presented to a graduating senior (undergraduate) who has demonstrated outstanding achievement in academics, research, and service to VCU and the community.
  3. Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award: This award honors a graduate student with outstanding teaching performance as a teaching assistant in a biology lab course.
  4. Black History in the Making: Founded in 1983 by Daryl Dance, Ph.D., the distinguished scholar of African American and Caribbean literature who served as Program Coordinator for VCU African American Studies during the 1983-84 academic year. Dance established Black History in the Making to recognize the achievements of African American students.
  5. Mohamed Shaaban Humanitarian Award: Please visit https://biology.vcu.edu/awards/shaaban/ for more about this award.

For more information regarding any of these awards, please see the Biology department awards document external link or email the Biology Awards Committee at biology@vcu.edu.

Selection of the recipient of each award is minimally based on the following criteria:

  1. Cumulative GPA
  2. Courses taken and total credits earned
  3. Research experience (e.g. publications, presentations at meetings, funding)
  4. Honors (e.g. awards or participation in Honors College)
  5. Service to VCU, including the Biology department and the community
  6. Quality of the application essay
  7. Strength of the letter of recommendation from a faculty member in the Biology department

If you wish to apply for any of these awards, you will need to provide the following information:

  1. CV/Resume (2 pages maximum): Include information relevant to items 3-5 above, your career goals, your expected graduation date, and any other information that is pertinent to the award.  Also include your local mailing address and your email address.
  2. Personal Statement/Essay (1 page maximum): This statement should address what you have accomplished to earn the award for which you are applying.  If you are applying for the Outstanding Senior Award, you should also include:
    • -What motivated you to complete an undergraduate major in biology?
    • -Following your graduation from VCU, what do you anticipate doing with your biology major (short term and/or long term)?
    • -In future endeavors, what do you feel will be the value of your experiences as a biology major at VCU?
  3. Copy of your academic record available through eServices (i.e., PDF of unofficial VCU transcripts).
  4. Please also arrange for a letter of recommendation from a VCU Biology faculty member to be submitted to the nomination form.

The nomination form and faculty submission form can be found here:
Nomination Form and Faculty Letter of Recommendation Form external link

Complete applications are due December 6, 2019. No late applications will be considered. Only electronic submissions will be considered.

2020 Winners

  • Joon Seog Kim, Outstanding I.L.S. Ph.D in Evolution Award
  • Maxim Grigri, Outstanding Biology Masters Student in Ecology
  • Dalton Huey, Outstanding Biology Senior Award
  • Anirban Mahanty, Outstanding Biology Undergraduate Student in Cellular/Molecular Biology
  • Sanyam 'Sam' Patel, Outstanding Graduate Teaching Assistant in the Department of Biology
  • Rebecca Alemu, Black History in the Making
  • Theodore Evans, Black History in the Making

2019 Winners

  • Drashty Mody, Outstanding Senior Award
  • Ravindra Krishna, Outstanding Biology Undergraduate Student in Cellular and Molecular Biology
  • Laura Hickey, Outstanding Biology Undergraduate Student in Ecology
  • La'Tila Abbott, Black History in the Making Award
  • Alexis Branch, Black History in the Making Award
  • Ashlee Greenlee, Black History in the Making Award
  • Imaan Muhammad, Black History in the Making Award
  • Michael Sinclair, Outstanding Biology Masters Student in Ecology
  • April Boyd, Outstanding Graduate Teaching Assistant Award

2018 Winners

  • Sarah Ingram, Outstanding Biology Graduate Teaching Assistant Award
  • Benjamin Nettleton, Outstanding Biology Masters Student in Ecology
  • Farahnoz Khojayori, Outstanding Biology Masters Student in Evolution
  • Joseph Brown, Outstanding Biology PhD Student in Ecology
  • Rohan Kankaria, Outstanding Biology Senior Award
  • Nitika Gupta, Outstanding Biology Undergraduate Student in Cellular and Molecular Biology
  • Emma Davis, Outstanding Biology Undergraduate Student in Ecology
  • Heather Caslin, Outstanding PhD Student in Cellular and Molecular Biology